Mono Mixes

cbphoto

Diamond Member

mikyok

Platinum Member
Well maybe if you had one on the top head and one on the bottom head. But if you had two mics on one drum/head, then normally you would pan one to the left and one to the right to get a stereo mix

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ToneT

Silver Member
Stereo is usually a combination of Mono and Stereo instruments mixed in the "Stereo Spectrum."
Take, for instance, the typical drumset mix in so many recordings...
Bass drum-dead center
Snare-dead center
Toms-panned left to right
Cymbals-hihats and ride cymbals usually opposite sides.

The drumkit, on recordings, is usually mixed two ways...
Drummers perspective: You hear the set like you're sitting behind it.
Audience perspective: You're somewhere in front of the set.
 

Huw Owens

Active Member
Some of my favourite orchestral recordings are old mono ones. The classic RTF ones especially.

Stereo went through a weird phase in th 80s. Prior to that you would have mono instruments panned in the stereo field, as people have mentioned. That could produce some interesting & individual results.

Then in the 80s people become seemingly obsessed with making each instrument stereo - stereo keyboards, stereo guitar, stereo drums, even stereo bass. Part of that was the easy access to stereo fx: stereo chorus & stereo reverb in particular. However, the result of making everything stereo was that you often ended up with a result that has little overall definition within the stereo field. I used to call it "wet mono" and at the studio I worked in we would say that you could just mix in mono, then run the whole mix through a stereo chorus and there was your instant 80s stereo mix. (It was a joke, but it can actually work).

Give me mono, or hard panned stereo over that, any day.

:)
 

buddhadrummer

Junior Member
Geoff Emerick says in his book about engineering the Beatles from Rubber Soul through the White Album, Here, There and Everywhere (recommended!) that he and George Martin spend a good amount of time doing the mono's, as they were for UK release. The stereo mixed were done quickly, late at night after the mono's were complete. Stereo mixes were intended for the US market, since that what US distributors required.

I don't take sides in the stereo/mono debate. I've heard some awesome mono mixes and some hideous stereo mixes. Good mono mixes, imo, if done well, come at you like a freight train and are unrelentless. Case in point: Ronnie Dawson's Just Rockin and a Rollin.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I'm a fan of stereo. IMO the standard rock ensemble doesn't translate well to stereo though. All the pieces being essentially mono except for maybe the crashes. Most rock bands use stereo because they have too much midrange, so they pan the guitars. Which is fair, if you had a live rock band, you would have the guitar amps off to the side, play it back on a big PA and it sounds about the same.

It is one of the reasons I like small percussion, whistles and trumpet and I even pick up my snares and crashes to do recordings, to get real stereo sound that makes sense. That is the problem, there are lots of tricks but the amount to just panning, they don't use the auditory cues eg micro delay that you would need to get things moving around. Some people don't realize how musical stereo is, but when you take a simple drum like a tamborim, then bounce it around it's like wow. Which when you watch people do that live in samba, it's what they are doing. The micro timings are quite enjoyable. I love hearing a big band section blast or a drum section crash. All those little delays give a wonderful texture, that are fun to piece together with the left side and right side of my brain.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I'm a fan of stereo. IMO the standard rock ensemble doesn't translate well to stereo though. All the pieces being essentially mono except for maybe the crashes. Most rock bands use stereo because they have too much midrange, so they pan the guitars. Which is fair, if you had a live rock band, you would have the guitar amps off to the side, play it back on a big PA and it sounds about the same.

It is one of the reasons I like small percussion, whistles and trumpet and I even pick up my snares and crashes to do recordings, to get real stereo sound that makes sense. That is the problem, there are lots of tricks but the amount to just panning, they don't use the auditory cues eg micro delay that you would need to get things moving around. Some people don't realize how musical stereo is, but when you take a simple drum like a tamborim, then bounce it around it's like wow. Which when you watch people do that live in samba, it's what they are doing. The micro timings are quite enjoyable. I love hearing a big band section blast or a drum section crash. All those little delays give a wonderful texture, that are fun to piece together with the left side and right side of my brain.
Bluegrass does alot with stereo, see the X/Y mics next to center mic. It's fun to watch on stage, as they are always moving around. Leaning in and out. It actually makes sense.

I guess there is a big difference between stereo recording and stereo mixing.

 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Geoff Emerick says in his book about engineering the Beatles from Rubber Soul through the White Album, Here, There and Everywhere (recommended!) that he and George Martin spend a good amount of time doing the mono's, as they were for UK release. The stereo mixed were done quickly, late at night after the mono's were complete. Stereo mixes were intended for the US market, since that what US distributors required.

I don't take sides in the stereo/mono debate. I've heard some awesome mono mixes and some hideous stereo mixes. Good mono mixes, imo, if done well, come at you like a freight train and are unrelentless. Case in point: Ronnie Dawson's Just Rockin and a Rollin.
Technologically the US was miles ahead of us here in blighty in the 60s when it can to recording and generally records were better produced. Some of the Simon and Garfunkel mixes from Bookends are as good as anything released today.

Zep 2 is one of the first albums that really takes advantage of stereo. For the argument I'm not for against one or the other. A well produced album is a well produced album....see anything Alan Parsons had anything to do with between Abbey Road and Eye in the Sky
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
But if you had two mics on one drum/head, then normally you would pan one to the left and one to the right to get a stereo mix
I have no idea what you are talking about? Are you talking about the 60's or now? Serious question.
If you have multiple mics on a drum they are panned together, like bass drum and snare - down the middle.
Since the 1970's drums are usually recorded in stereo. Kick and snare down the middle, hi hat slightly panned, toms gradually panned from one side to the other, stereo overheads and stereo room mics/room ambience.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
Remember that The Beatles were right at the cutting edge of recording at the time. They were using the mics on the drums that they thought would sound the best. Their use of Coles 4038 ribbon is still a standard observed today.
I don't know why they stuck with mono for so long.
The reason mono changed overnight to stereo was because it was a technology advancement, like the internet, or mobile phones.
Stereo was developed, at first stereo sound systems were expensive, then gradually the price came down and more people were able to buy them, as such the demand for stereo music became more widespread.
Then they invented Quadrophonic, so bands started releasing records mixed in quad. Over time it was realised that stereo was really the sew spot and so quad died a death.
Sort of coming back now with albums mixed in 'Atmos' - a version of surround.
 

Alex Luce

Pro Drummer
I have no idea what you are talking about? Are you talking about the 60's or now? Serious question.
If you have multiple mics on a drum they are panned together, like bass drum and snare - down the middle.
Since the 1970's drums are usually recorded in stereo. Kick and snare down the middle, hi hat slightly panned, toms gradually panned from one side to the other, stereo overheads and stereo room mics/room ambience.
Yeah, how you described it is how I mic my drums. I was just musing that if you did have multiple mics on a single drum, why and how would you do it? Maybe on a recording session you might use two mics on the batter head of a snare drum because you liked the different characteristics each mic brought to the recording…I don’t know. But seriously, I thought there were no rules, only creative ideas. I’ll be sure to check with you next time I want to make a change to my microphone set up—to be sure it’s ok
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
No, it would be mad to have two mics on the bass drum or snare and pan them L & R.
They are there to offer different properties, or they might be alternatives to decide on during the mix.
Typically I have three bass drum mics, all panned centre. An inside mic, which has attack, but is also the main sound. A sub mic, which only adds very low end to taste, and a front of kick mic, which is there to give the bass drum a bit more air, realism.
On snare it's usually two, a main top mic, and a below mic to mix in the snare wires. Some people use at least two snare top mics, again for either an alternative to choose later, or for different properties, one is great for bright attack, the other great for warm fatness.
Kick and snare are panned centre 99% of the time.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
I’ll be sure to check with you next time I want to make a change to my microphone set up—to be sure it’s ok
No need for the sarcasm. Of course there are accepted practices. You either knew what most people did, or you didn't, it came across like you didn't. Your ears don't hear a single snare drum panned L&R, that's why people don't do it, it would sound very odd.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Generally it's a lot harder to mix in mono and stereo was a relative novelty then. Pink Floyd's 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' is a great example of the novelty - I have both versions and there are some really naïve stereo tricks going on in there (listen to the alternating hard-panned phrases in 'Interstellar Overdrive').
Great example! I have an original issued vinyl of that record as well as the reissue & they are very different. If I'm in a particularly nostalgic mood, I'll rock the original. Just to hear what they did back then to get the music to the masses.
 

JoeVermont

Active Member
Try listening to a mono mix on... one speaker! A very experienced sound engineer and producer once told me it was the only way to really check a mono mix. The reason? If you are listening to mono on two speakers exactly the same sound is coming out of both. There is cancellation and reinforcement from the not-quite-identical path the audio is taking to your ears. I tried it. I'm a believer !! You don't really notice any problems listening on two speakers, but when you mute one of them (or pan the balance control on your hifi) the audio sounds more detailed. For me the effect was like.... WOWZA - not a subtle difference.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Does anyone know of any good stereo tricks for snare? I get it that it's such a key element that everyone wants to have it in the center, but on the other hand it is such the perfect sound put stereo effects on and move around in the stereo field. How much of a faux pas is it to have the snare in stereo? Like anything else it helps the snare stand out in the mix when it is in stereo.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
Does anyone know of any good stereo tricks for snare? I get it that it's such a key element that everyone wants to have it in the center, but on the other hand it is such the perfect sound put stereo effects on and move around in the stereo field. How much of a faux pas is it to have the snare in stereo? Like anything else it helps the snare stand out in the mix when it is in stereo.
I tend not to mix anything down the center and just slightly adjust kick and snare left and right. Still plenty of both on either side.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
It's not usual to have a stereo snare drum. the only thing I can think is reverb, or for an FX a delay pinging from side to side. But 99% of commercial music is mixed with the kick and snare directly down the centre.
 
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